Twelve O’Clock High

PLOT:

Hard-as-nails World War II Gen. Frank Savage (Gregory Peck) must turn a discouraged group of American bomber pilots into heroes. Along the way, the once-alienated general comes to view the men as family. No longer a heartless commander, Savage — with the aid of his loyal adjutant Maj. Harvey Stovall (Dean Jagger) — learns how difficult true leadership really is.

What people are saying:

“More than a war film, it’s also an education on how to be a good leader. I came out of the film feeling like a wiser man. Gregory Peck is an incredible actor. He makes it look so easy. The film also has amazing attention to detail.” 5 stars

“The only reason this doesn’t get five stars from me is I don’t think it is universally likeable. I have a particular interest in WWII movies because my father was in that war—as well as a few others—but I feel that if you are not the type who enjoys war movies, you may not enjoy this. That said, the performances in this film are outstanding (even the minor characters). The combat footage is absolutely astonishing and may be the closest you or I (veterans excluded) get to having even the slightest notion of what these brave men went through. Someone mentions this is a “propaganda” film—and I’m going to look that up—but even if it is, the portrayal of duty and bravery in the face of extreme danger is outstanding, and Peck’s performance at the end of the film definitely earned him that Oscar. I think kids can handle this—of a certain age to be determined by the parents of course—because the live combat footage they use could definitely teach kids something about war and sacrifice. I mean, you are seeing real planes being shot out of the air. It’s unbelievable, but very believable—if that makes sense. Great movie. Makes me miss my dad.” 4 stars

“All very solid and well-made, but rather more office-based than one might expect, with only a brief spell of (real) aerial dogfights towards the end. Long too, and a bit of a yawn. Never did understand the thing about the Robin Hood character jug either.” 3 1/2 stars

“Twelve O’Clock High is arguably the first modern war movie. It deals with PTSD in a way not previously done. It also conveys how insane daylight bombing without escort was in WWII –some of the highest casualty rates of the war. The cast is superb especially Gregory peck and Dean Jagger. It’s a classic for a reason. ” 4 stars

“65 years old, and still one of the very best war movies ever made. You couldn’t make this movie today without computer-generated help, and this movie is that much better for having real B-17s, real uniforms, real everything. It mixes combat footage with movie footage to great effect, everything including the pre-fab buildings used on the airbase adds to the overall realism. On top of all that it’s in black and white, which in this case makes for a better movie than color, in my opinion. Gregory Peck turns in a great performance as the stern leader who has to whip a dispirited group back into shape. Plenty of colorful supporting characters. No over-sentimental or cheezy lines or scenes. No romantic sub-plot to drag the story down as in so many other war films. Just a great movie and about as accurate a portrayal of the WWII bombing missions as you could ask for.”

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